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First of all, China has a history of multiple cities, because many are precisely dominant. From the ruler’s point of view, it is neat and broad to look magnificent. Therefore, most cities in ancient Chinese history are wide roads, typical of which are changan city in the sui and tang dynasties and Beijing city in the Ming and qing dynasties. China’s economic rise in modern times was also influenced by the world’s big cities, and China was built on the model of magnificent and wide urban landscape. This has become the current situation of most Chinese urban roads we see today:

 

  1. Historical development. Many foreign cities are mostly developed from the old cities of several hundred years ago, and the brick and stone building structure makes the city texture better preserved. Hundreds of years ago, when there were no cars, streets were designed on the scale of people and carriages, and many narrow roads continue to this day. Most of the wide roads in China have been built with the rapid economic development in the past 90 years, and have no historical accumulation. However, there are also many small and dense roads in the old districts and towns of many cities.
  2. Land ownership. Foreign land is privatized, every house is privatized, and small, dense roads ensure the accessibility of every building. In China, land is nationalized, and residential land is basically built by developers in the form of block transfer. In this case, only one or two entrances are left for the whole residential area, but the roads need to be accessible by cars throughout the whole residential area. Before the 1990s, housing was scarce in China. To solve the problem of urban housing, China has begun to build residential areas in Shanghai and Beijing. After the emergence of large-scale commercial housing, the emergence of today’s giant residential areas, and the road is more and more widely built. And developers have also become direct drivers of urban construction, because the bigger they build, the more they benefit. In this process, the residential areas constructed in the early stage mainly consisted of six storeys. After 2000, the number of residential areas began to increase. There were more and more residential buildings with 12, 18 and 33 storeys.
  3. The problem of historical concept, the ancient Chinese imperial cities are located in the city is a wide road, everyone envy the tall and dignified palace-like buildings, the road is built wide is the people, especially the leadership of the style of cognition. Therefore, in China’s large-scale construction after the 1990s, and in the process of urban construction led by local governments, there was a general emphasis on wide roads, large squares, large gardens and so on. Such deep-seated beliefs are hard to change.
  4. The cost of capital, investment by the government, municipal road residential internal road by developers, investment, China’s rapid development period, is not only the urban construction, there are a large number of economic and social development needs the government invest capital, road density can improve the natural investment cost to many at the meeting, instead of wide roads that dilute the road can save investment.
  5. Basic national conditions. There are too many people in China. If every family has a small villa, even if it is not a villa, only a single-family house less than 80 square meters, multiplied by 1.5 billion people, the total construction land in our country will be increased several times, and the damage to the ecology and farmland will be immeasurable.
  6. Construction of government offices. China’s various local and central governments and related units are large in size and area, and are located in good locations in cities. To serve the needs of government offices, the roads need to be able to accommodate daily cycling trips. Moreover, offices, residential areas and schools in China are all closed, and no roads pass through these areas, so external roads have to be widened.
  7. Development stage. After 30 years of rapid development following the reform and opening up, many development directions have focused on improving the overall economic strength and improving people’s living standards. However, the stage of pedestrian walking experience has not been carefully considered. 7. In the urban development of China, it took about 20 years for people to complete the process from mainly walking and cycling to the era of automobile travel. Compared with the changes of transportation modes in the west for more than 100 years, the evolution of transportation modes in China is a leap-forward development. Perhaps because China’s modes of transport are changing so quickly, the focus is on servicing cars (roads getting wider and wider, for example) and more or less ignoring the need for a pedestrian and bicycle road system. This also indirectly led to the increase in the demand for car travel, the road is getting wider and wider. At present, some developed cities in China are gradually promoting road network density and people-oriented road planning.

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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